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Denise van Outen: ‘Nando’s? I go for mango and lime, babe’

By Attitude Magazine

Denise Van Outen SOME GIRL I USED TO KNOW 1 credit David Venni

Denise van Outen is a woman of many talents: singer, actress, dancer, the voice of TOWIE and, to anyone who grew up watching The Big Breakfast, a peerless purveyor of pre-9am LOLZ. She’s now embarking on one of her most ambitious projects yet, a one-woman stage show called Some Girl I Used To Know, so we gave the one and only DVO a call to find out more.

Hi Denise. You’re in Hull at the moment, right?
“I am, yeah. I’m in bed actually. I’m on tour and I’ve been getting up later and later every day. I haven’t really got anything to do today. I woke up and thought ‘do you know what, I just really want to get back into bed and have a cup of tea’. So I’ve gone all John Lennon and Yoko on my bed.”

So you’re not tempted to go and explore the many things I assume that Hull has to offer?
“Apparently in Hull, there’s a fish trail on the pavements, and you follow it and it takes you to all the tourist spots of Hull. Someone recommended this to me yesterday but it’s absolutely freezing here. I love the idea of walking around trying to find some fish, but I just think I’m going to sit in bed, have a cup of tea, then hit Nando’s and then go and have a little shop and spend it up at TK Maxx.”

What spice are you at Nando’s?
“I don’t do spice; I go for the mango and lime, babe.”

I like mango and lime too – but I always get stick for that.
“Yeah, I just like it – it’s only a little bit fruity. I don’t like anything spicy, it makes my ears itch.”

So you’re in Hull for your one-woman show Some Girl I Used To Know. What it’s all about?
“When I was growing up I watched the movie Shirley Valentine. I loved the character. The storyline at the time really reached out to the female audience: this down-trodden housewife just suddenly ups sticks and goes on holiday and has some Grecian love affair. For women of that generation, the timing of it, it was quite liberating really. It was completely empowering: ‘I’m not going to be a bore in life with this terrible man who’s telling me what to do.’

“Woman now are career women, you know. Some of my friends are still single because they focus on their careers and they haven’t met any men, and they’re not having kids yet, and they’re like 30 to 40. And I just thought that there’s really nobody being the voice of this generation of women.

“So in my story there’s a woman called Stephanie who’s got her own lingerie brand, she’s very successful, and she’s on a business trip. The whole play’s set in her hotel room. She’s married to this guy called Paul, who she’s happy with, but there are a few problems within the relationship. One of them is that she works too much, and on this business trip, she’s online when she gets a message on Facebook from her very first love. He says, ‘I heard that you’re up in town’, because she’s become a bit of a minor celebrity through her label. She’s sitting in her hotel room thinking, ‘Do I meet up with this guy?’”

Denise Van Outen in SOME GIRL I USED TO KNOW 3 credit Pamela Raith

It’s a one-woman show, so it’s pretty much just you on stage the whole time. Is that the most intensive thing you’ve ever done?
“I think if you speak to any actor or actress, a lot wouldn’t even do it because it’s so scary. But possibly because of my presenting background, that maybe helps a little bit, because I obviously had to be on stage alone and things like that. But it is really scary. You know there’s nowhere to hide, you’re so exposed. And it’s not like I’m up there just talking, I sing about eight songs too, so it’s a big old thing.”

For those songs I hear you worked with (Kylie’s producer) Steve Anderson, and you also co-wrote the show with Terry Ronald. How did that come about?
“Steve is obviously just brilliant. How he makes the songs in the show sound is just fabulous. I’m obviously a massive Kylie fan and I love all his work anyway. With Terry I read his novel Becoming Nancy and obviously I loved that. We were both at Kimberley Walsh’s 30th birthday party and we started talking. I told him about this idea I had for this play, and before I knew it we were work-shopping it and rehearsing it. So it just happened in a full circle really.”

The show you contribute the voiceover to, TOWIE, is back for a new series this week. Who’s your favourite person on the series?
“I do love Gemma Collins, because there’s always a drama, and she’s bubbly. Out of the oldies, I loved Mark Wright. I was sad when he left, because he was good eye candy and just brilliant.”

I had you pegged as more of a Nanny Pat girl.
“Yeah, but she’s not in it as much any more, is she? I just like Gemma’s one-liners – like when she said to Arg. ‘You ain’t ever getting this candy’. She’s got a comeback and has something to say. And when she loses her temper she goes manic, doesn’t she?”

Have you ever been to Sugar Hut?
“I went on a night out there with Duncan James and Sheridan Smith a couple of years ago when we were in Legally Blonde. That was a funny night out.”

I think it would be a good idea if you make a cameo on the show.
“They won’t let me be in it! It’s because I do the voice of it, and because it’s reality I’m not allowed to.”

You did Strictly a couple years back. Is that the only reality show you would do – or would you do Splash! for example?
“I would do MasterChef, because I like cooking, but I wouldn’t do Splash!. I’m not really confident in the water. With Strictly, it’s a very different show to all the others. It’s got a lot of of class about it. To me it’s the ultimate Saturday night family TV show.”

Speaking of Saturday night shows, have you been watching Kylie on The Voice?
“Yes! I love her on The Voice. The whole new line-up of The Voice is fantastic. I loved Jessie J but I got a bit bored of hearing her constantly singing over the top of everyone. With Kylie, you feel like she actually cares; it’s not just about her showing off. And I love”

Finally, my absolute favourite show growing up was The Big Breakfast. How do you look back on it now you have a lot of distance?
“Bless you for saying that. It was just the best time ever and I had such a laugh. I mean I literally used to run into work, and then we’d just play about for two hours. It was brilliant. We could do what we want and [the producers] were very relaxed. TV’s much stricter now. There’s all these guidelines. It was chaos, but brilliant, such good fun.”

Denise is touring the country with Some Girl I Used To Know until March 19. For full details and tickets please see